Violence and Heavy Metal Music…Is there a Connection?

The latest School Shooting which occurred in Baltimore has once resurrected the endless debate on Heavy Metal and wether it has a direct influence on teens and if this influence can be blamed on gun violence in America. On Monday, a teenager (15 years old) Bobby Gladden was arrested for allegedly opening fire with an automatic weapon in a crowded school lunchroom at Perry High School in Baltimore. The shooter critically wounded one fellow student before being tackled by a guidance counselor who disarmed Bobby. Of course…as soon as the media found out that Bobby considers himself a “metalhead” ….The New York Daily News claimed, “Teenager who allegedly opened fire in Baltimore area high school was a heavy metal misfit.”. The relatively neutral NBC Network reported that Bobby was a huge fan of Slipknot and Rammstein….His Facebook page has Rammstein’s frontman Till Lindemann’s face posted on the front page. Here we go again folks…a green light for the Media to once again try to blame heavy metal music on teenage gun violence in America! What a joke…just because a kid listens to a certain kind of music…yes that is what possesses them to grab a weapon and go on an onslaught to try and slaughter a bunch of their fellow peers. How many times have we been down this road before?? I can remember after the Columbine Shootings in Colorado in April of 1999…the media was quick to jump all over the young shooters’ passion for heavy metal music, particularly Marilyn Manson and Rammstein. Eric Harris, one of the shooters had an extreme passion for German Heavy Metal bands, namely Rammstein. The media fed off this and played the ultimate blame game with the heavy metal community under the crosshairs. One would have to believe that politics also plays a major role on how and what the media reports so I definitely would not put it past the government for using this tactic to wave the war on gun control. It wasn’t till much later that Eric Harris was found to be a psychopath which would more logically explain the reasons for this violent behavior. As a line from one of Eminem’s (rapper/songwriter) popular song states…”Blame it on Marilyn” a reference to the shootings and the media’s pathetic use of heavy metal as a reason for such gun violence. Yes…these kids just happened to listen to this type of music and then go on a murder rampage!!! How many other billions of fans listen to this music and never shed an ounce of violence on anyone?!? C’MON….Use your head America. All of these incidents are isolated and the type of music they listen to has no bearing on this violent behavior. What if the killers had been fans of rap music…would the media then say that rap bands should be banned because they are a dangerous tool that directly influences teenage violence. This debate goes back even further and was cited in the 80’s when the PMRC hearings were being waged. Judas Priest was directly blamed for two teenagers who committed suicide. Rob Halford even had to go to court over this case. The prosecution tried to use the article that Priest used subliminal messages in their music that told kids to kill themselves. Then in later years the media tried to connect violence in video games to violence in real life. They tried to use evidence that teenage minds are like “sponges” and that the constant violence on the games they played directly led these teenagers to encompass violent tendencies and personalities. There has never been any scientific evidence linking either music or video games to violence…specifically gun violence.
Heavy Metal will always be a major target of stereotypical political ideologies and mainstream media criticism. But what these outlets fail to see is that there are a far number of fans who listen to this music that do not commit any violent acts. Therefore….I think it’s safe to say that there are other factors involved with these violent acts including economic status, cultural values, family values and upbringing, mental disorders, children of alcoholic or drug abusers, domestic violence and a multitude of other social breakdowns. After the Columbine shootings…Marilyn Manson was forced to cancel their tour due to the extreme backlash from government and media entities. This is just one more example of what is wrong in this country. We send our children overseas to fight wars for countries that do not give a damn about America. We spend millions on research for the space programs. We spend millions on programs that help people that either won’t help themselves or just uses the system in order to not have to work. We spend millions on programs to help foreign people enter our country and get handed jobs. We need to take a serious look at the problems that are faced by American society today and Heavy Metal music is one area that has nothing to do with the problems in question. Freedom of Speech was fought for by our forefathers and this is one right that should never be taken away or disparaged. We have the right to listen to whatever music we like and the music we listen to does not make
Us criminals. The person who gets into a car and drives after drinking and kills an innocent person is still responsible for their actions….did they necessarily mean to kill someone no. Did alcohol have any effect on this…maybe slightly. But ultimately that person made a choice to get behind the wheel after knowingly consuming more than the legal limit of alcohol. Likewise…the kid who goes into a school and murders innocent children knows beforehand what they are doing and what the consequences will be…that’s a fact. Let’s get it right and stop going back to the same whole over and Over again when it obvious that one has nothing to do with the other. Stop stigmatizing heavy metal in America. Do the right thing!!!!!